Current testing methodology is v1.2
August 9, 2023
3.94 x 3.15 x 1.18 in
CVJ is a relatively new company in the IEM scene. Their online presence started creeping up on my AliExpress feed one day and I saw one of their first IEMs ever which is the CVJ Angel Ears. I seriously considered getting it but with the lack of reviews, I decided to set my sights elsewhere.
Flash forward two years and CVJ is making waves in the community. A lot of good performers, both budget and mid-fi options, have risen.
Value is cutthroat in the industry lately, and as much as I love it, I like innovation even better. Enter the CVJ Konoka, the pioneer of haptic driver applications. Is it all a gimmick or something revolutionary? Let’s find out in this review!
A novel concept that hits the mark in terms of innovation but misses with the tuning
The CVJ Konoka is a hybrid configuration IEM with 1DD+1BA and a vibrating driver. The overall tuning is a little too bright on the upper mids and if they level the pinna gain to not be as sloping as it is, a more natural and easy-to-listen-to sound could be achieved.
I find that for my preferred applications, the haptic drivers only stay on if I’m watching movies. For music listening though, I stick to music mode and on more moderate volumes. Overall, while I do appreciate innovation, I’d have to say that the CVJ Konoka misses a little bit with its tuning.
- Driver: 1 Vibrating Driver + 1DD + 1BA
- Frequency: 10-40,000Hz
- Sensitivity: 112dB+3dB
- Impedance: 28Ω±15%
- Wire material: Oxygen-Free Copper Cable
- Interface type: 3.5mm
- Pin type: 0.75mm 2-Pin
- Cable Length: 125cm±5cm
What’s in the Box?
- CVJ Konoka earphones
- Detachable cable
- 2 pairs of ear tips
Stuff I like
- Decent clarity and lively upper midrange
- The haptic driver adds a sense of impact
- Good technicalities for the price
Stuff I like less
- Wonky tonality on most tuning configurations
- Can be fatiguing to listen at higher volumes
The CVJ Konoka comes in a sleek black box that has a bit of a premium feel to it. The unboxing experience is nice as the IEMs are well-presented but the accessories are pretty basic – just a detachable cable and a couple of extra pairs of ear tips.
Frankly, I’m disappointed with the sound of the CVJ Konoka. It’s partly due to the hype of seeing a unit demo physically vibrating and moving on a desk that I decided to buy.
Do the tuning switches work? Yes, they do but instead of changing the tuning, they decide whether the haptic drivers are active or not. I’m not saying that the tuning modes are a result of the absence or presence of the vibrating drivers, but their similarity leads me to conclude that they’re not distinct from one another.
The build of the CVJ Konoka is more modest than most budget offerings. The material on the earpieces is made from plastic and even though this is an intentional choice that lets the vibrating drivers permeate through, I can help but wish for it to be a little more solid.
The cable resembles a standard OFC cable that you’d get with other budget IEMs and while it’s decent, I would’ve preferred something braided.
Fit and Comfort
The CVJ Konoka does well here as I found no drawbacks with how they fit. The wearing experience is pleasantly comfortable and the earpieces sit very securely on the ear. In terms of isolation, find that it blocks off a lot of noise from the external environment. All in all, everything relating to ergonomics is a breeze.
To simplify your life, I’ll leave you with a simple indicator. The second switch is responsible for activating the haptic driver, which synchronizes with bass rhythms and sequences. The first one – I’m not sure but flicking it up makes everything annoyingly sharp.
You can experiment with a lot of different configurations listed at the back of the box but personally, I find that music mode and 3D movie mode to be the most listenable ones.
In terms of the most natural tonality and openness, music mode is my pick with everything else sounding either wonky or too bright for their own good.
Now, let’s take a look at the sound piece by piece.
The bass of the CVJ Konoka reaches good depths with its subfrequencies presenting rumble and atmosphere decently. Meanwhile, the mid-bass has good impact and slam with a slight discernable bump to it when the haptic drivers are up and working.
This bass response is by no means bass head levels but it can jive with modern and electronic genres like a champ.
I find that the lower midrange of the CVJ Konoka is too lean sounding and while note weight is fairly good with male vocals, I’m often left wanting more weight and grunge behind the notes. The overall levels don’t seem to be recessed but they seem a tad bit farther on the soundscape than what a mid-centric set would display.
The upper midrange is nearly unlistenable on every mode except music mode because of the excess sharpness and overenthusiasm on both vocals and instruments.
On music mode though, I still find myself lowering the volume a little bit as the upper midrange remains a tad bright. The pinna gain does take a fairly aggressive hike on its graph and it’s definitely on point with what I’m hearing.
All in all, this isn’t the most natural-sounding midrange by a mile radius and while there’s good clarity for the price, it’s at the expense of a natural-sounding presentation.
I find the treble of the CVJ Konoka to be crisp and pragmatic in delivering instrumentation and transients. A sense of air is also appreciated with the staging sounding open, extending decently on most of its cardinal directions. Overall, the treble performs admirably for the price.
The transient response, resolution, and staging stand as some of the better performers on the technical front while other attributes such as instrument separation, layering, and detail retrieval have a bit to improve on. All in all, these are pretty good technicalities given the price.
I find that the CVJ Konoka can play a diverse set of genres and while it may work for a majority of them, I also find that vocals in general sound a bit wonky and bright to my tastes. As much as I can, I try to stick to genres that center more on instrumentation like Metal and Orchestra.
I commend CVJ on innovating new concepts. I think the Konoka has established a foundation for future applications of the haptic driver and while I say this with a lot of optimism, I’m a little sad to say it didn’t hit the mark for me.
Tuning takes precedence over everything else and while I can appreciate the technology and the manifestation of it, a big part of what makes an IEM sound good is how well it’s tuned.
A good tuning ensures a natural tonality which, among other things, is imperative to making sure music is presented as naturally as it can be. For movies and games though, all of these matter less and the haptic drivers make for good use as they give that extra bit of enjoyment out of explosions and whatnot.
Experimentation is what leads to breakthroughs and I’m hopeful that CVJ will present us with better IEMs in the future. For this one, I’ll leave a ‘nice try’ note on the table.
Gavin is a college student who has a lot going on. From collecting IEMs and modding mechanical keyboards, to different hobbies like digital drawing, music mastering and cooking. It is safe to say he is a complete multi-faceted geek (and he's kinda cool too)
This post was last updated on 2023-11-28 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.